On June 16, 2020, at approximately 3:30 PM, a social media post identified a rope as a noose and suggested this to be a hate crime in the area of Lake Merritt. The Watch Commander, Patrol officers, and the Public Information Officer responded to the area of Staten/Bellevue. Officers conducted a search of the area and observed five ropes attached to various trees.
OPD obtained photos of the ropes prior to the Department of Public Works being contacted and removing all five ropes. OPD collected all evidence, ropes, and photos. All evidence has been documented in a police report. (See photos attached).
City leadership, including the Mayor’s Office, City Administrator’s Office, and the directors of the Parks, Recreation & Youth Development and Race & Equity departments were also notified.
During OPD’s initial investigation, several community members reported the ropes were used for exercise equipment; one community member claimed ownership of the ropes and stated that he intentionally placed the ropes on the tree limbs for exercise and games several months ago.
The Oakland Police Department and the City of Oakland recognize especially at this time, that any ropes on or attached to trees, limbs, or other objects can be associated with hate crimes and racial violence.
As a Department and City, we understand the historical and harmful associations when ropes are hung from trees and how the impact can harm our communities. We remind and ask our community to be mindful when using this equipment in a recreational manner. These acts may send an unintended message.
The Oakland Police Department and the City of Oakland take all allegations of hate crimes seriously.
The Department is conducting a full and thorough investigation of this incident.
Extra patrols have been assigned to Lake Merritt. OPD is working with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Public Works to be aware of any items or objects in the lake area that should be documented and removed. The Department also notified the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
The Department is asking anyone who may have information regarding this incident to please come forward and contact investigators at (510) 238- 3728 or call our OPD Hate Crime Hotline at (510) 637-4283.
The Oakland Police Department wants to affirmatively state that our city will not tolerate any hate crime against a member or group within our community. If a community member is a victim of, or a witness to, what they believe to be a hate crime that has already occurred, we encourage them to call the OPD Hate Crime Hotline at (510) 637-4283 or if a crime is in progress dial 911. The non-emergency phone number is (510) 777-3333. You may choose to remain anonymous when calling the OPD Hate Crime Hotline.